So Have You Heard About Anne Rice Quitting Christianity?
The last couple of weeks the Christian community has been buzzing about legendary vampire author (remember Interview With The Vampire ?) Anne Rice ‘quitting’ Christianity. If you didn’t know, she became a convert about 10 years ago. More specifically, she released some statements on her Facebook fan page. They were things like:
“For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian … It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”
“My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me…But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been or might become.”
She also said that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat.” She said that she is leaving ‘organized’ religion’ but is still a follower of Jesus Christ.
So what can I say to Ms. Rice? What needs to be said?
Ah yes, trying to balance being a follower of Jesus, current events, and your worldview. I know it well. I do it every week here on my blog.
I do it in my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. In fact, your (Ms. Rice) “not calling yourself a Christian” is a challenge I make in my own book. I get it.
It’s my own Interview With The Savior. HA!
Following Jesus, Ms. Rice, isn’t easy. In fact, being Jesus wasn’t easy. That’s what I discuss in my post on why Jesus Was So Darn Offensive.
Remember how they killed Jesus because he was so divisive? That’s just one idea to keep in mind.
I understand. I also don’t want to be perceived as “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat.” And I’m not any of those things.
But sometimes, just sometimes, words of Jesus call us to value certain things, regardless of our own popularity, that are unpopular with some people. And since my faith informs, guides, and corrects my worldview, there often ripples that go in all directions and splash people inadvertently.
That is why I, as a ‘Christian’ (and I admit, I reluctantly use that term at times), am also things like anti-lying, anti-stealing, anti-divorce, anti-adultery, anti-substance abuse, anti-crime, anti-relativism, anti-pluralism, and, well, you get the idea. Sometimes people like to flirt with edge of those things. I don’t. And when I don’t, if I happen to have a relationship with someone who does, it makes them uncomfortable. Sometime it even makes them mad.
It’s not that I do anything to make them mad. I just won’t do what they do. They think I am ‘judging’ them. I’m not. I just refuse to compromise one certain things. Some positions I hold are essential, if you will, and some are nonessential. It’s the essential ones that make people mad. But that’s how I try to honor Jesus, or follow him, as you say.
Sadly, this had ended many relationships over the 22 years that I have been a Christian. Not by choice, just by default.
The truth is, it’s not that I am anti anything. It’s that I am pro stuff: pro-family, pro-fidelity, pro-justice, pro-life (yes, I am pro-life), pro-moms, pro-dads, pro-reconciliation, pro-forgiveness, and so on… And I don’t compromise my principles (the essential ones) based on comfort level, environment, or company.
It’s not easy. I understand.
I wish someone would have told that sooner, Ms. Rice. It sounds like you have never had a spiritual mentor. I haven’t either. In fact, I’ve never had a mentor in any area of life.
I’ve had to just stumble around and clumsily learn things the hard way. Would you have listened if you had a mentor, I wonder?
Well, perhaps you will listen to the words of Jesus himself:
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, motheragainst daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”–Luke 12:51-53
Just something to keep in mind, when people don’t like your positions. It’s doesn’t mean to go out of your way to divide. But sometimes, by default, your values will. We all fall in love with the popular warm and fuzzy Jesus. His words fill Holiday cards, because he is so very marketable.
But let’s not forget the less popular Jesus. The one they killed because of his values and positions–which is what his words above are alluding to.
Know why Jesus said this? Know what he meant?
Sometime, just sometimes, following Jesus (or God) isn’t about your reputation, image, popularity, feelings, or convenience. If it is, it leads to moral relativism and philosophical pluralism every time. Even if you, Ms. Rice, try to leave ‘organized’ religion or stop calling yourself a Christian (which I support, rhetorically speaking)…it will suck–that is, if you base your ‘following’ on the words, life, and teachings of Jesus.
I hope this was helpful, because it was meant to be.
I wish you all the best, Ms. Rice!